October 30, 2005

Goodbye Harriet

Well, I was sympathetic to the Miers nomination for no better reason, really, than that it brought back my youth a bit. But to be honest, except for the fact that I was young my youth wasn't especially noteworthy. The decision made here is going to be between one guided by cronyism (or loyalty/friendship, to put it in a softer light) and outright elitism. Harriet was probably a 700 or so on the scale of logic, but not much more than a 500 in verbal ability, so she's tanglefooted. The next nominee will be at least a 700 in both verbal and logic/math, which is a good thing for the country. But at that level bear in mind that he/she won't be very cognizant of the common weal. Said nominee will have been in special classes from the time he (it will be a "he") learned to read, and may not have actually bought a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk in quite awhile. Sobeit; it's the very essence of the Jeffersonian ideal whereby the country is informed and led by a meritocracy composed of exceptional leaders and scholars emerging from the mass of humanity.

It is, a turning point.

The danger of a meritocracy is that it's always close to turning into a plain old oligarchy, because the perquisites of power are often the prerequisites of achievement. Well, that's the trend unless vigilance is able to keep the playing field level by rigorous adherence to merit, pragmatically conceived.

But though we are at a turning point, we are not at the apex of history.

In fact, the version of liberalism that guides the West is deficient in comparison to the version of totalitarianism that opposes it. One wouldn't think so, given our confidence that a misstep isn't even possible. The only segments of this culture that have begun the painful graduation from naive liberalism to demosophia are those that are in direct contact with the enemy, in Iraq, and those with whom they are in direct contact, in the blogosphere. No one else is even at the yawning and stretching phase of awakening.

And in such a situation an "end-around" is more than conceivable; it's almost inevitable. While we focus on Iraq, Iran torques and strains. The American Civil War, which pitted ancient contra-liberal institutions like slavery against the liberal ideals of the American Founding has become a World Civil War, or very near. The strategy of the enemy will not be to confront our strengths directly, but to exploit the divisions clearly manifest in our own domestic argument. This is such a certainty as to be beyond debate. Qutb's deepest insight was that the West was plagued by an "awful schizophrenia" that renders it weak and indecisive in the face of adversity. It ought to be at least sobering that our enemy knew us at least as well as we know ourselves, and if there's a flaw in his plan it has yet to make itself clear. He did, however, underestimate the core of the culture. He thought it resided in Harvard and 5th Avenue, the dolt.

But my hope is that, just maybe, the attention now paid to the innocuous lies and misrepresentations of Scooter Libby will raise the profile of Joe Wilson's lies, and people will be outraged by the fact that this debacle was all created by the misperception that Wilson had something of value to relate. What sort of covert agent, jealous of their own security, chooses to send a bumbling and untrained spouse into the heart of ones own turf, unless there's some other agenda? And how corrupt must a media establishment be, that it fails to even mention (in the 60 minutes of Meet the Press with Tim Russert) that almost nothing Joe Wilson ever said deserves the label of "truth?"

We are far more vulnerable than we seem...

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia)

By Demosophist at 08:24 PM | Comments |